Jasmine Kang’s fourteen-year struggle with acne motivated her to create and develop the ultimate acne solution. With a biomedical and pharmaceutical background, she sought dermatologists’ expertise to support the production of her acne-fighting treatment line. As a result, she founded Skinlycious in 2013 with her business partner.
Skinlycious has helped acne sufferers and has been profitable since its creation, and Jasmine is still running it today. Read on to discover her journey with Skinlycious from the beginning, being a ‘mompreneur’, and her advice to all teenagers and adults dealing with acne.
1. How did you decide to establish Skinlycious? What motivated you to start the brand, and what is the story of getting Skinlycious to where it is now?
Having struggled with acne for fourteen long years, I needed a proper full range of skincare for my acne-prone skin as many products in the market made my skin very oily, leading to breakouts. When my business partner and I first started Skinlycious, we worked with a dermatologist for one and half years until he passed away. We learned how to produce the Calming Cleanser and Glow Exfoliant from him, and we’ve refined it over the years. My aesthetic doctor taught me how to make the hydrating serum. That was the only serum I could use as a moisturiser, and I’m selling it for a third of what the doctor charged!
For the past eight years, I’ve been refining and developing a full range of skincare I wanted in my routine. I’m very happy and proud of the current range of products, the systems, and the approaches we’ve developed to help people with acne. I studied science from college to university without any business background. With limited funds and knowledge, it has been a steep learning curve. Initially, I was quite bad at branding, marketing, and managing a business. Skinlycious has come a long way, and we are still iterating.
2. Skinlycious is exclusive for acne-prone skin. How do you distinguish Skinlycious from other acne products? Is the regiment the same as other brands’ products?
Skinlycious is suitable for all skin types because our range focuses on building up the skin’s natural barrier and reviving and maintaining healthy glowing skin. But we focus on acne-prone and sensitive, and acne sufferers are the group of people that has the most significant difficulty finding suitable skincare.
We only have acne-fighting ingredients in our two spot correctors (Glow Exfoliant and Clarifying Serum). The rest of the range is formulated to build up our skin’s natural barrier. Our whole range is purposefully formulated to complement one another with different skin-loving ingredients in each product to give different benefits. We have recommended skincare routines based on age and needs. We also don’t offer toners in our range because as a formulator, I know active ingredients in toners are not as concentrated as serums. Hence, we advocate double cleansing and using serums. I don’t believe in/ use toners, hence I don’t offer it in Skinlycious.
3. Acne affects the majority of us, from teenagers to adults. But is Skinlycious suitable for all skin types? Does the product have a different effect on various types of skin?
Skinlycious approach to skincare is reviving healthy glowing skin. Even after acne is cleared, our acne-fighters, including myself, continue to use Skinlycious to maintain clear, smooth skin. Who doesn’t want clear, glowing smooth skin?
We also do not use essential oils, colorants, artificial fragrances, and such that are known to have allergens that might irritate sensitive skin. We are a clean beauty brand. We use science-backed naturally derived ingredients in our products. If you look at the ingredients of our products, you will see a lot of common ingredients. The difference is the concentrations and form used to ensure that it doesn’t trigger my skin to produce excessive sebum or oil.
We also cater to normal and dry skin. With our hydrating serum, barrier booster moisturiser, and balancing facial oil, one can customise their moisturiser with these three products to find their optimal water and oil balance. In the video below, I explain how one can do that and how you know you have achieved the perfect water and oil balance.
4. How does the research and development process of Skinlycious go? What kind of challenges have you faced, and how did you overcome them?
Skinlycious products were initially made for my personal needs, but we have evolved and listened to the needs of fellow acne fighters. After identifying their requirement, I look into the ingredients. Using science–based ingredients is easy for me to study and read clinical papers. However, when it comes to organic natural ingredients, there is a gap in such knowledge. To choose the type of plant oils to use in our moisturiser, I even took a Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation just so that I have more knowledge of natural ingredients.
First, the formulation must not trigger my skin to produce more oil. I even split my face into four to test the different concentrations on my skin. If the concentration (of product) is not right, my skin will become very oily. A lot of surfactants (cleansing agents) make my skin very oily, and it was quite hard to formulate cleansers that don’t disturb my skin’s balance.
After determining that it doesn’t disturb my skin balance, we make samples to send to customers that send us feedback saying that they needed that product. For example, we sent the moisturiser three versions with different plant oil concentrations to the customers who told us hydrating serum wasn’t enough. That was when I realised I couldn’t make a moisturiser for everybody as everybody has a different degree of dryness. Hence, we launched our proprietary blend of oil separately as balancing facial oil so that those with drier skin can customise the amount of oil their skin requires.
5. It is crucial for consumers to keep trusting brands, especially beauty and skincare products. What is the main selling point of Skinlycious, and how do you retain your clients’ trust?
Our main selling point is in my reply to the second question. Generally, once the customers see the transformation on their skin, they would trust Skinlycious. They also know that I’m personally using Skinlycious whole range of products, except Balancing Facial Oil (for dry skin). I would want the best for us, hence they can be assured they have good products.
6. Where do you see Skinlycious in the future? What kind of innovation and benefits do you wish to present to your consumers?
We aspire to be the trusted one-stop shop for acne-prone and sensitive skin, offering skincare, acne supplement, and makeup. A safe space for this group of people where they know if they purchase anything from Skinlycious, the likelihood of breaking out is extremely low.
I took eight years of research and development (R&D) to come up with a complete range of essential skincare for acne-prone and sensitive skin. But I’ve not fulfilled the needs of this group yet. A lot of makeup products make me breakout. Not just foundation! I even had pimples in my eyebrows after trying out a new eyebrow pencil. Hence, I would come up with makeup for acne-prone and sensitive skin.
I still get acne when I eat my trigger food, like spicy food, durian, peanuts, and essentially in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), those ‘heaty’ food that affects the liver. I want to make an ‘east meets west’ supplement for acne, so that I can enjoy durians without getting breakouts. I’m also sure a supplement like that will help a lot of people clear their acne faster than just by using skincare.
7. You had battled acne for 14 years yourself. What was the worst experience during your acne treatment? What triggered it?
The worst was after undergoing multiple sessions of chemical peels with a famous doctor known to treat acne in Singapore. The multiple sessions of harsh chemical peels left my skin very sensitive. The product’s texture was so uncomfortable as it was sticky, and it felt like having a heavy layer on my face that didn’t go away. After determining that this doctor’s procedures and products were not helping, I stopped going to her. However, my skin became so sensitive that it would flush red under the sun for many years. It took many years before my skin normalised again.
P.S. That’s why I make sure that Skinlycious products are non-sticky, non-greasy, and absorbed easily without feeling anything on the skin thereafter.
8. Some people develop the habit of popping or picking on their acne and pimples. What is your advice that could be helpful to those with that habit?
Popping or picking might leave pitted scars and introduces bacteria when your tools or fingers aren’t clean, making the acne more inflamed. If the acne has burst on its own, use a tissue to clean it and squeeze from outwards to inwards so that you don’t spread the inflammation to other areas. After that, apply either of our spot treatments on it to kill the bacteria.
If you really can’t help it, then use those hydrocolloid acne patches to prevent yourself from touching it. However, I’m not a fan of those patches as I feel that it heals faster naturally.
9. Do you wish to create or start another brand exclusive for skin problems other than acne? For senior women, for example, who are suffering from freckles.
Not at the moment. The current focus now is to create more brand awareness so that we can help more acne fighters. A lot of those who have sensitive skin, like those suffering from eczema or rashes had their problem solved after using Skinlycious.
10. Skinlycious is still growing, but do you have any plans to open a physical outlet and expand to include consultation and facial services as well?
Not in the near future. Nowadays, many people prefer to purchase online. You will be pleased however to know that we provide complimentary personalised online skin consultation via LIVE Chat. You are welcomed to reach out to us via Facebook or Instagram. Let us help you with your #AcneFighting journey! :)
11. Most teenagers lack in-depth awareness of acne, and some parents fail to educate them properly. How would you help clueless teens and parents and bring acne awareness to them?
I think we have to go beyond acne and teens. Proper skincare from an early age helps to prevent acne. It starts in the tweens years. Nowadays, we see tweens as young as nine years old with acne. We need to nip acne in the bud before it spreads and progresses to get worse.
It all begins with a good cleanser and proper washing technique. We might think that washing our faces is easy, but to the child, they are really quite clueless. As parents, we have to show them how to wash and educate them to massage the cleanser on their faces for 60 seconds before washing off. Prevention is always better than cure. Treat pimples, bumps, or clogs with a spot treatment so that it doesn’t spread.
12. You have two children yourself. As a parent, how would you support your children if they ever encountered their own battle with acne in the future? To what extent will you help them?
My husband and I had acne during puberty, so my kids might be genetically prone to acne. However, with Skinlycious products, I’m pretty sure that they will not struggle with acne like me. My eight-year-old recently had some little bumps of whiteheads, and I got him to use Calming Cleanser. After his bumps were gone, he stopped using it.
Just like most parents out there who have the same complaints, it’s hard to get teens to use skincare. Hence, I cannot emphasise more that a good cleanser, like our Calming Cleanser, is really important for them as that’s probably their one-step routine.
13. Since starting Skinlycious, how do you juggle your life as a parent, researcher, and entrepreneur? What keeps you motivated to keep working on Skinlycious?
It’s common for entrepreneurs to ‘brag’ how little sleep they get, like a badge of honour. With limited funds and being a ‘solopreneur’ initially, I used to think I had to work hard to bring Skinlycious to greater heights as quickly as I could.
After I had my firstborn, I realised I’m not a superwoman. Sleep deprivation is serious. I was so tired that I fell asleep while driving! I never imagined this was possible. I remember pinching and slapping myself to keep myself awake, and the next moment I knew, I heard the rustling sound of broken twigs and leaves. My car was scrapping the bushes planted at the divider. I got a rude shock and woke up. My baby was still asleep in his infant seat at the back. I realised how I could have got both of us killed.
I was steaming my firstborn’s puree, and I fell asleep while putting him to nap. Hubby came home and smelt something was burning. My Combi silicon bowl and spoon actually melted in the pot! I wouldn’t imagine what could have happened if he had worked late that day. After these two accidents, I no longer give myself tight deadlines. That’s also the reason why I decided not to accept investors’ funding, as I knew that I would not be able to work at my own pace anymore. During this period while I was working on Skinlycious, I also went through five pregnancies and developed Adenomyosis.
Sometimes, when I look at the numbers my entrepreneur friends are making, and how they have grown so much over the years and then I look at my pace of growth, I honestly get embarrassed by it, but for the sake of my health and kids, I have to pace myself out. Entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint. Every positive review, the smiles, thank yous, and the transformations of fellow acne fighters keep me motivated and going.
14. What kind of impact do you wish to have on those suffering from acne? What is your personal goal, especially for Southeast Asian adults and teenagers?
I hope that I can help them clear their acne before they get any pitted scars, as those are quite permanent unless you go for aesthetic procedures. I understand first-hand how one’s self-esteem can be affected, hence Skinlycious would like to be there for this group of acne fighters to cheer them on and provide solutions and hope.
15. With vast social media consumers today, how do you think the public can help spread acne positivity? What kind of actions or words can they show through social media?
I think the public can be kinder by not giving unsolicited advice to people struggling with acne, especially when they have not suffered from acne, as they do not understand our struggles. If you don’t have anything kind to say, just don’t say. A simple note saying, “You are still gorgeous”, would help the self-esteem of those struggling with acne. For those struggling with acne, to be kind to ourselves and be positive as acne doesn’t define us. We are more than our outlook. Acne can be cleared, and do not lose hope.
Anis Sharina contributed to this article.